COUNTY NEWS: Family vow to clear paedophile’s name after suicide

Darren Turk was accused of sexually abusing boys at Frewen College between 1996 and 2002 SUS-151106-123559001
Darren Turk was accused of sexually abusing boys at Frewen College between 1996 and 2002 SUS-151106-123559001
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The family of a paedophile who killed himself the day before his conviction vowed to clear his name and blamed his suicide on the trial.

Darren Turk, 54, was found hanged at his home in Etchingham, East Sussex, on June 16, 2016, ahead of being found guilty of historic child sex abuse at Frewen College where he used to work.

After hearing his inquest today (Tuesday, January 24), Turk’s family and friends pleaded his innocence saying he was a good man who would help anybody.

His mother, Jasmine Botting, said his suicide note read that ‘he would not to go prison for a crime he did not commit’.

A family statement read: “Darren was one of the most caring and lovable people we could ever meet.

“There was no truth in the accusations against him. We know have lost a valued member of our family.

“We will fight on for his name and reputation to be cleared and we are 100 per cent confident that we will do this.”

Turk, of Fontridge Lane, was found guilty of 14 offences including rape and indecent assault, from 1996 to 2002.

The court heard the offences were carried out against boys aged under 16 at the Northiam special school where he worked as a member of care staff – the charges did not involve anyone currently at the school.

Turk worked at St Mary’s School and College in Bexhill before Frewen – none of the charges relate to his time at the Wrestwood Road special school.

The inquest in Hastings was told how Turk had been diagnosed with depression and was taking prescribed anti-depressants, but had not expressed suicidal thoughts.

On the day of his death, he had spent time at his mother and step-father’s home in Burwash, with his step-father Eric Botting saying he seemed normal.

But after not answering phone calls on the day he was due at Lewes Crown Court, the couple went to Turk’s house and found him hanged.

Police found notes of a suicidal nature in his home and senior coroner Alan Craze was certain Turk knew he wanted to take his own life.

The court proceeding continued without the jury knowing he was deceased, and in a believed legal first, he was convicted of ten of the charges and acquitted of six despite his death.

Numerous family members and friends claimed after the inquest that Turk was innocent and cited many boys at the school who he had helped, with one woman saying her son would be in prison if it was not for him.

His former boss at Electrify U, Christian Olivier, said Turk was one of the kindest men he had ever met after training him as an electrician.

Mr Olivier said once he brought him and his colleague a roast dinner and a bottle of wine when they were working late one night, as just one example of his kindness.

Asked what she thought of her son’s conviction, she added: “I think it’s dreadful and we are waiting to hear if the appeal will be allowed.”

Man on trial over child sex offences found dead

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